Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The AQS show in Paducah ,KY was a special celebration. It was the 25th anniversary celebration year and for the first time the Gammill Longarm Machine Quilting Award was a purchase prize award.
The winners are presented with a choice: 1.) Take the $12,000 prize and AQS keeps the quilt which then is added to its museum inventory or 2.) Accept the award ,receive no prize money but keep the quilt.
To some this may be a no-brainer to take the money and have the satisfaction that your quilt has gone to a good home. But to some when the hours and hours put into the winning quilt make it something that cannot be parted with, the choice is very difficult.
This year the Gammill Longarm Machine Quilting award was awarded to a prolific quilting team, Marilyn Badger (St. George, UT ) and Claudia Clark Myers (Duluth, MN) for their exquisite quilt " Greensleeves".
Claudia took two months to design, comb through her extensive stash of silks and brocades and then piece the top. The top was then sent to Marilyn who then painstakingly quilted for 8 hours a day for approximately 6 weeks. Marilyn used 5,000 yards of Superior Metallic on top and 5,000 yds. of The Bottom Line in the bobbin on her Freedom SR.
Greensleeves was then sent back to Claudia who spent two weeks on the binding and beading, adding extra flair (on top of Marilyn's flair).
Marilyn and Claudia have been competitively quilting together for several years, winning many awards for their quilts. Marilyn told me " You dream of making that phone call: ' Hey Honey guess what we won at Paducah!!!!'"
I have seen this quilt up close and the workmanship of both the piecing and the quilting is amazing.Congratulations Marilyn and Claudia. To see more of their beautiful quilts go to http://www.nightowlquilter.com/
Monday, April 27, 2009
- 1. Batting. This adds drag on top thread. Cotton batting tends to grab the thread more than poly batting, adding more friction on the thread.
- 2. Fabric type. Dense fabric puts more stress on the thread.
- 3. Top thread thickness and type. Metallic is less flexible than cotton or poly. Poly is usually stronger than cotton or rayon. 4. Bobbin thread type. Cotton bobbin thread tends to grab more than a smooth filament polyester. Sometimes grabbing is preferred and sometimes it causes problems. A smooth filament poly thread (not spun poly) in the bobbin will work better with metallic and other sensitive threads because its smooth finish acts almost like a lubricant, sliding nicely with the thread.
Friday, April 24, 2009
The premise for the exchange went as followed:
Each participant provided a focus fabric, along with matching fabrics in a bag marked with their name.
Each month the group selected a block to make, and made 6 samples. The next month the bag was passed to another group member, and another block was selected. By the end of the exchange, each Diva had a pile of blocks all done in their own fabric choice.
It was interesting to see how each Diva chose to set their individual blocks.
Margaret Miller's quilt was done in reds, greens and yellows.
One of our employees, Ricci Lindley used wonderful batik's.
Ricci's quilt was beautifully quilted by April Sproule of Sproule Studios in Fortuna, CA.
April used Rainbows Autumn Leaves by Superior Threads.
Verny Thompson's quilt.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Announcing our new top quality industrial grade needles for home machines. Titanium-coated needles have been available for longarm and industrial machines for many years, but these are the first titanium-coated Topstitch style needles made for home machines.
- Topstitch #80/12 for piecing and for sewing with fine threads.
- Topstitch #90/14 for the majority of threads.
- Topstitch #100/16 for heavier threads.
- How about for metallic threads? Topstitch #90/14. Under a microscope, other brands of Topstitch and Metallic needles are almost identical. There is no need for both styles.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Karen asked what options she had when trying to select a metallic.
Depending on the project, and your personal needs, here are 4 options you can consider:
Friday, April 17, 2009
This experience prompted us to ask questions of the thread manufactures in Japan. We discovered that they only made quality metallic thread for an Industrial market, wound on very large spools. We desired the same product to be offered in a domestic market, wound on smaller spools.
It took some convincing, but with outstanding results. Superior Threads was created and Metallic thread became our very first product.
Trying to turn real metal into a smooth-sewing thread is not an easy task.
To successfully run metallic, make sure the thread you are using has 3 essential components.
- Does it have a nylon core? A nylon core is an indication of strength and quality. Combined with "paper" pasting prevents tangling.
- Is it paper pasted? The best Metallic will have a coat of rice paper pasted over the nylon core, resulting in a stronger thread.
- Does it have a protective coating? An outer coating will help the thread run better with less friction, and protects against fraying and shredding.
A good metallic thread does not require additional lubricant.
Always use a size 90/14 top stitch needle or Metallic needle and loosen the upper tension.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
We enjoyed the day with our little grand daughter Avilyn, also known as the "Superior Baby".
It's sometimes hard to pull ourselves away from this kissable face and think about work.
Although we do have some Spring time colored threads that work beautifully on baby quilts.
Have you seen SunBurst our sunlight-activated color changing thread?
We love this relatively new product that comes in eight beautiful colors.
When indoors, the thread appears white. Take SunBurst outside in the sunlight, and an amazing transformation takes place. Within seconds you will see white turn to blue, green, magenta, orange, peach, pink, purple or yellow.
Go back inside and the colors change back to white.
We offer SunBurst on 200 yard spools and 3,300 yard cones.
Now that the weather is warming up, this is a great time to experiment with SunBurst. Children love it on their tee shirts and imagine the sparkle SunBurst can add to picnic quilts. There are endless possibilities.
One bride had her wedding gown embroidered with this thread. Indoors, it was white-on-white but when she went outside for the garden reception, the entire dress blossomed into a full rainbow of color.
We love hearing from you and your ideas. Let us know how you have used SunBurst on your projects.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Why not do the same with thread?After carefully creating the piece, instead of using a single color of thread to complete the project, think of what a careful selection of multiple threads could do to further enhance your work of art.
When selecting the best thread colors to use, consider the balance between the background fabric and the other fabrics in the quilt.
Rather than bringing them together with a single thread, consider using:
- tone-on-tone variegated thread in the background.
- variegated thread in the block. This will create a sharp contrast.
- a different colored thread in the inner and outer border, making them more distinct.
Many of our threads were designed with this in mind.
Highlights and Rainbows are color-coordinated threads. Rainbows are the variegated colors, and Highlights are the identical type of thread but coordinated in a solid color.
King Tut also provides a wide range of variegated, solid, and tone-on-tone colors.
Used together, two or more coordinated threads will take your quilt from a work of beauty to a beautifully coordinated masterpiece.
UPDATE ON THE MOTHERLAND:
With the beautiful weather here in sunny St. George, work is continuing nicely on our addition.
The second story level has walls. This level will be the School of Threadology. Imagine studying and quilting here with the beautiful views out the windows.
The floor was poured last week.
Jon and Todd, our Vice Presidents have been working hard in helping to make decisions on floor space designs. Estimated completion date is July of this year. We might soon announce an August session of the School of Threadology with an internationally known teacher. Watch our newsletter for details.
Friday, April 10, 2009
A good quality thread today will last much longer than thread which was made 15 or 20 years ago. Even the best quality cotton thread of a generation ago did not have the processing techniques available to us today. If I had Mom's or Grandma's thread on the shelf, would I use it today? Probably not. However, I would not hesitate to use King Tut 50 or 60 years from now. That's how far quality thread has come.
The difference is due to a higher quality of cotton and advancements in spinning, dyeing, and twisting technology.
As for polyester thread, the color may fade over the years with exposure to sunlight, but there is no evidence that the thread deteriorates.
The best way to take care of your thread is to keep it free from dust and sunlight. If you follow these two simple rules, Superior Threads products will remain in good condition and ready to use even 40 or 50 years from now.
You may want to consider your thread collection as part of your family's inheritance, because it probably will last a lot longer than we will!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Kapaia Stitchery is one of the largest quilt stores on the island of Kauai. They carry Superior Threads and Bob and I went here 4 years ago to do a Thread Lecture.
They have a very active guild in Kauai and they are not afraid to use bright, tropical colors. Their idea of country colors is VERY different than our mid-western concept.
They have an extensive selection for those who sew their own Aloha Shirts and Mu mu's.
There are many, many bolts of fabric, notions, patterns, and a friendly staff that makes this store enjoyable to visit.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Having previously lived in Hawaii for four years, this trip allowed us to play tourist. It's surprising how differently we viewed the area from this perspective.
We stopped by a church where they were beginning to hang quilts for a small quilt show in Kauai, by invitation from our friend Jeni Hardy. There was a special exhibit of local Hawaiian quiltmaker Pua Miriam Kaona, who passed away three years ago.
Her children sent these very well used and loved quilts from as far away as New York for this exhibit. For the program, Pua's children talked about each specific quilt, their mother, and the stories behind it.
Kahili & Coat of Arms. Owned by Diana (daughter) & Charles Spencer of Hanalei.
Up close details.
We were surprised she used poodle fabric as the backing. I'm sure like everyone else, she used what she had at the time.
Papaya owned by Kenny Kaona (son) of Hanalei
Papaya details. I was so impressed that each leaf was the same, including every little detailed point, and hand appliqued with such tiny stitches.
Poinsettia owned by KeleMomi Kaona Lopez (daughter) of New York.